Program in Museums and Society: Applications for seed grants

The Program in Museums and Society announces seed grants for full-time faculty teaching on the Homewood campus to develop new undergraduate courses in their home departments that enhance the curricular offerings of Museums and Society through cross-listings. Preference will be given to courses that can be offered on a semi-regular basis starting in 2016/17 or 2017/18 and that connect the program to new collaborators, academic disciplines, fields, or methods. Successful applicants are responsible for ensuring that their course has approval from and is listed through the appropriate department. Collaborations between faculty and museums or other relevant community groups are particularly encouraged. Descriptions of current and past courses are available at the Museums and Society website.

Intellectual Parameters

Museums and Society introduces undergraduates to the institutions that collect, preserve, interpret, and present our historic, material, artistic, scientific, and natural heritage. The program's curriculum falls broadly into three main areas:

  • Genealogy and Typology: Museums vary across disciplinary types and between regions; they also have origins and histories entwined with a range of institutions and with the formation of the academic disciplines. We particularly welcome courses that broaden our geographic lens beyond Western models or that use museums as a lens for disciplinary critique, and that expand beyond the realms of art and archaeological collections.

  • Politics of Museum Culture: Because of their fundamental tasks of classifying, ordering, and representing, museums have always been political. The conception of the museum as a site of power holds considerable sway in the literature but is being handled with increasing nuance. We especially welcome courses that consider issues of social responsibility, social justice, or politics in connection with the American city.

  • Museum Object: Do museums destroy the objects they contain or render them eloquent? How do objects accrue or change meaning over time as part of new contexts and collections? And how might these meanings be inscribed in the very materials of objects themselves? We particularly welcome courses that engage the material expertise of the connoisseur, curator, restorer, or materials scientist, that consider models for examining materiality not only theoretically but also in terms of physical materials, or that engage the status of the object in the digital age.

Funding, Project Period, and Deadlines

The program will offer up to three grants in the amount of $2,000 of supplementary salary. The salary will be paid in two installments with the first installment paid upon selection by the committee (Dec. 30), and the second upon delivery of a fully developed course syllabus and description of assignments (June 1, 2016).

Proposals are due by Dec. 1. They will be evaluated by members of the Affiliates Board for Museums and Society. Please submit proposals electronically to Rachel LaBozetta:

Guidelines for Proposals

Proposals should include the following:
1. Cover letter with
a. Contact information for instructor(s) and collaborators
b. A brief statement that addresses
i. the relevance of the course to the Program in Museums and Society's intellectual concerns
ii. how the course would fit into the faculty member's teaching responsibilities in their home department, including information on when the course would be offered and indications of support from the home department
iii. the resources and/or needs for successful teaching of the course, including a budget (the Program will provide up to $500 in course expenses to support the first iteration of the course)
iv. the sustainability of the course (how often is it likely that the course will be offered again, what kind of financial support it would need for future iterations and how it will be funded etc...)
2. CV that includes a list of courses taught
3. Copies of recent course evaluations for courses taught at the undergraduate level
4. Course description that includes:
a. the course's overarching theme and main objectives;
b. the topics, concepts, methods, issues or problems that will be covered
c. the course's learning objectives
d. list of proposed assignments, exercises, exams and/or projects that will be
developed to meet the course's objectives
e. Select bibliography

Final deliverables due June 1, 2016

The final package will include:
1. Full course description and learning goals
2. Weekly course outline that assigns readings by class session and a brief synopsis of the
content, questions & activities to be covered
3. brief descriptions of individual assignments, exercises, projects or other planned